Imagine a horrible scenario with me:
Someone tells me I have 40 more days with my son. The son I held when he was hours old. The one I gave a bottle to and watched take his first step and heard say his first word. The beautiful boy that I still come in and kiss on the cheek as he sleeps at nearly 15 years old. Truly, I can’t imagine the terror and sadness of that moment.
But the messenger gives me a way to extend those 40 days, though it will require sacrifice on my part: I can get four more days if I don’t look at the ESPN app on the weekends or after 5:30 pm on weekdays.
I can get 10 more days if I don’t scroll Safari or social media apps on the weekends or after 5:30 pm on weekdays.
And I can get an extra 40 days—doubling the time I thought I had—by doing something even more drastic: I can’t text or check work emails on the weekends or after 5:30 pm on weekdays.
There’s no mountain I won’t climb. There’s no sacrifice I won’t make. The answer is an easy and emphatic ‘yes’ to all three scenarios. And then I’d ask what else I could do for even more time.
This isn’t a fake scenario. It’s not hypothetical. It’s not a dramatization. It’s real. This decision stares us down every single day, but we pretend it’s fake. But it’s not. It’s the most important thing in any of our lives, and it’s the thing we control most.
By the time our kids are 18 years old, 90% of the time we will ever spend with them will be gone. And if we’re lucky, we might get 40 focused minutes with our teenagers per day now. The math works out. That means if your kids are 14 years old, you have 40 more days with them at that pace.
We have no idea how little time we have, and we are wasting it by scrolling. And I know this sounds a little preachy, but I wish someone would have shaken me by the shoulders a few years ago to tell me this. We have to stop rationalizing. We have to stop pretending we have unlimited time. We have to stop wasting our lives scrolling through other people on screens when the people we made are on the other side of those screens!!!
The solution is really simple to understand and really, really hard to implement. Our phones aren't the issue. The issue is we are trying to change a learned behavior and some really bad habits. That is the hard part. If you can do it on your own, please do. But if you need some help, that’s why we started Aro, and we are here to help.
If reading this gets you to put down your phone for a few minutes this evening to spend time with your family, that’s a huge win.
I live for stories of families intentionally putting down their devices and connecting in real life. I’d love to hear yours. Shoot me a message at email@example.com about a moment that happened or a memory that was made because of it. There’s a 100% chance I will cry.
Joey Odom, Aro Co-Founder